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A love story’s final chapter

The covered wagon was made by Elza Moses during the last year while a resident at Liberty Village. During his 104 years, Moses has made hundreds of woodcrafted items for family and friends.
The covered wagon was made by Elza Moses during the last year while a resident at Liberty Village. During his 104 years, Moses has made hundreds of woodcrafted items for family and friends.

TISKILWA — Eighty-two years after Elza and Vivian Moses said their wedding vows to love, honor and cherish each other until death parted them, those wedding vows reached their final fulfillment with Elza’s death on Friday morning.

Elza Moses, a long-time Tiskilwa resident, died at the age of 104 as a resident of Liberty Village in Princeton, where he and his wife had moved last year.

On Monday, Nita Wyatt of Wyanet talked about her father and the legacy he has given the entire family — a legacy of hard work and energy, but most of all a legacy of commitment and love toward her mother.

Elza and Vivian were born and raised in Nebraska and met at a dance in 1927 when she was 14 and he was 19. Though he wasn’t much of a dancer, Vivian said there was something about that young man she liked. They married shortly after her high school graduation. The young couple spent their early years of marriage in Nebraska trying to eke out a living during the Great Depression.

After moving to Illinois in 1939, Elza farmed for years and also ran a stump grinder. He also drove a school business for the Tiskilwa School District and St. Louis Catholic School.

Through the years, the Tiskilwa couple were honored with interviews by the Bureau County Republican, as well as by the Chicago Tribune for a Valentine’s Day 2011 article.

In a 2008 interview with the Bureau County Republican, Elza said the secret of a good marriage was all about finding the right person.

“When people ask me about having a good marriage, I tell them I found the best there was in my wife, and there’s never been a reason to look any further,” Elza said. “I’ve loved and respected her all these years I’ve known her. I really have.”

On Monday, Wyatt said a lot of people have come from that union of Elza and Vivian Moses, including five daughters, nine grandchildren, 28 great-grandchildren, and 19 great-great-grandchildren, with that number increasing.

“Through the years, we have watched them as a couple and seen what having a relationship is all about,” Wyatt said. “Their relationship with each other was always first with each other. I think that’s a good lesson to learn. It wasn’t that other people weren’t important, but you always knew their relationship with each other was the most important to them.”

Wyatt’s husband, Gary, agreed, saying Elza and his wife were best friends when they married and remained best friends through the years.

In addition to her dad’s love for her mom, Wyatt said she will remember her dad for his strong work ethic and his energy. He wanted to be as active as he could, until his last day. So many people just want to sit in their chairs, but that wasn’t her dad, she said.

She will also remember her father for all the woodworking he did through the years, resulting in gifts for every family member and lots of friends.

When he moved into Liberty Village, Elza continued to do his woodworking through the activity center. One year ago, he made a wooden heart for his wife, inscribing it with their names and “81 years.”

When asked what she will miss most about her dad, Wyatt’s answer was simple and short.

“Just knowing he’s there. That’s what I will miss most,” Wyatt said.

On Monday, granddaughter Barb Valle of Princeton also remembered her grandfather and his impact on her life.

“My Grandma and Grandpa taught me what it means to love unconditionally. Not only have they loved each other, but they have always loved each of their daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren unconditionally,” Valle said. “They have always accepted and supported the choices we have made even when they didn’t necessarily agree.

“They loved and supported each other through hardships that most of us can’t even imagine. I can’t separate Grandpa from Grandma because it has always been the two of them. For the first time since she was 15, she is without the love of her life.”

Funeral services for Elza Moses will be at noon on Wednesday at the Norberg Memorial Home. The obituary appears in today’s BCR.

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